Recent Posts

Let it Go (Frozen)

Elsa sings that “the past is in the past”. She’s had an affliction – being able to turn things into ice. (I think many people would claim they’ve had exes for whom that applies … but for her this is literal!) But the fact that she’s had a past shouldn’t influence what decisions she makes […]

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Story of My Life (Shrek the Musical)

In Shrek the Musical, all the fairy tale creatures are being banished to a swamp. They sing about how life is difficult for them and the hardships they’ve had to endure. This is a great video to lead-off a discussion of discrimination. It also works well when discussing abuses of government power. Discussion Questions for […]

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Santa Fe (Rent)

This couple dreams of opening a new restaurant. This is a good song to illustrate the drive of entrepreneurs. While many entrepreneurs want to start a business solely for their own benefit – either monetary or non-monetary – entrepreneurship benefits society. Entrepreneurship is a major component of economic growth, often as important as land, labor, […]

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Money, Money, Money (Mamma Mia)

Donna isn’t happy with her life. She thinks she is working too hard for too little money. (Who isn’t!) And she thinks her life will be better if she could find a wealthy man. There are some interesting economic ideas in this song. One is the idea of the marriage market – as someone who […]

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Lovely Ladies (Les Miserables)

This Les Miserables song is a good one to play to lead into a lesson on prostitution or prohibitions. Prostitution is prohibited in many markets, yet it still occurs. This song can also be played to start a lesson on labor economics and compensating wage differentials. Because prostitution is such an undesirable profession, higher wages […]

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If I Had This Truck (Hands on a Hardbody)

Rent seeking is the process where people or firms expend valuable resources (time, energy, or other resources) while attempting to win a competition. This is often referred to as a market failure, but many times it is actually a government failure. Some common real-world examples you see for this is when the government offers grants […]

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Privilege to Pee (Urinetown the Musical)

Thanks to J. Brian O’Roark for creating this video and the description below. The musical Urinetown presents a greedy businessman who deals with a water shortage by instituting a toilet tax. If you don’t pay, you are banished, hence the “Privilege to Pee”. In this song we see the basics of demand and supply played […]

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Stars (Les Miserables)

Javert wants to find Jean Valjean. Badly. Javert provides a great example of inelastic demand, as he swears upon the stars that he will never yield, under any circumstances, in his quest to find Valjean. In fact, economists would say he has perfectly inelastic demand – as the price won’t influence Javert in his quest. […]

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